All About Pipe and Drape
At its core, pipe and drape is a modular and flexible solution used to create a variety of backdrops, partitions, or decorative elements in a space. Its simplicity and flexibility have made pipe and drape a fundamental system used by designers, conference and event planners, theatre directors, and film productions. It typically consists of uprights or poles (standard or adjustable), horizontal drape support bars, bases, and drapery or other materials used to create, divide and showcase a venue space.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the basics of our rental pipe and drape, including common terminology, things to know when renting from us, and how to set up your system.
Why do you need Pipe and Drape?
Pipe and drape is a cost-effective way to create a unique decorative space or divide up a space within a venue. In conferences, it can be used to partition off areas on a show floor or block off (hide) areas from the conference floor. In film, pipe and drape is often used as part of the set décor or to mask behind the scenes areas. In halls or large venues, it can be used to create a smaller performance spaces or private dressing space for performers.
Here are some of the common terms used when referring to pipe and drape:
Horizontal / Crossbar / Drape Support – They have many names but are simply the bar that hangs from the two standing uprights. This bar, or double bar as discussed below, is what the drapes hang from to create the desired look. Our rental horizontals come in various adjustable sizes. They are telescopic and can reach from 3 to 12 feet in width.
Uprights / Standards – These are the vertical primary support structures for the pipe and drape system. They simply slide onto the base pins, discussed below, and vertically stand to support the horizontal drape crossbars. Stagefab’s adjustable rental uprights can stretch from 3 to 20 feet tall.
Bases / Base plate – The base plate is the secure foundation of the pipe and drape structure. They lay flat on the ground and are designed to ensure the stability of the whole system. For Stagefab's rental pipe and drape, we have custom-designed wheeled cases so that transportation of these heavy 42lb bases is easy. Stagefab carries a variety of different size bases. Our standard rental bases are 24” x 24” for maximum stability in event and performance spaces.
Base Pins – These are metal pieces that attach to the base plate to enable the upright to connect the base plate. They simply screw onto the base plate using one of the pre drilled holes. Our standard base pin is 2” by 8” high.
Drapes – These may not need much explanation as this is the whole purpose of the pipe and drape system. The number of drapes hung from the crossbars will give different depths of fullness and richness to the final look. Our rental inventory of drapes has a variety of colours and fabrics to choose from to create the right look for your project.
Horizontal Double Adaptor / Double Top – In most cases, a single horizontal crossbar is hung from the uprights. However, there are adapters available to be able to hang two crossbars from the same uprights, such that two different layers of drape can be hung. Often, this is using a sheer drape with a second heavier drape behind it to create a more luxurious and opulent look.
Sandbags – These are simply heavy custom-made sandbags used to weigh down the base plates and keep the system stable. Our sandbag quantity recommendation is dependent on the height and width of your rental drape request.
Things to Consider When Renting Pipe and Drape
When you rent a system of pipe and drape from Stagefab, there are some things you want to consider to make sure that the elements you pick are correct for your venue:
What is the primary purpose of the pipe and drape? Are you using it to mask light or create a distinct look within a space or are you trying to block noise? Note that while adding drapes to your space will muffle or deaden the sound, however they are not going to block out all of the sound.
Where will you be setting up the system? We do not recommend these for outdoor use as tall drapes can act like sails in the wind. Also if the drapes are exposed to the elements, there could be potential damage to the drapes or extra cleaning required to get them back to their original clean state.
What height do you want the drapes to be? The taller the system is, the more unstable it can become and you may need to add sandbags to the base's for extra weight.
What look are you going for? This will guide the choice of the fullness of drapes, the type of fabric, and the colour of the drape that you are looking at.
How long do you need the rental for? We have several different rental terms for our rental stock to meet your project needs. Note that we are also able to provide you with pricing on a sales pipe and drape system if a rental solution doesn’t work for you.
How to Set Up Pipe and Drape
There are some great videos available to show the steps to setting up your pipe and drape system. We recommend using at least two people for ease of installation.
Screw the base pin into the base plate. Make sure it is tight and not wobbly.
Put your uprights on the base pins. We recommend keeping them at the lowest level until you put the horizontal crossbar on.
Set your horizontal crossbar to the length that you would desire.
Pull the drape(s) through the horizontal. Don’t forget to do this before you raise the uprights!
Hook the horizontal crossbar onto the top of the upright. On the top of the upright will be several spaces to have a hook slot in. Simply place the ends of the horizontal in the tops of the uprights and they will be securely kept on the upright.
Raise the telescopic uprights to your desired height.
Overall, pipe and drape is a versatile and easy-to-use system that allows for the creation of temporary partitions or backdrops that can be customized to fit any event or function.